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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling

The final day of my strawberry posts is finally upon us.  I’ve had such a wonderful time posting all of these strawberry recipes this week.  However, Eric and I now have way too many desserts in our house!  I have a feeling this one won’t last very long, though.

My favorite thing about making this cake was that I got to use my new kitchen scale.  Weighing provides more accurate measurements and can really come in handy when precision is key.  In this case, it also saved me the time of converting the recipe.

Having never made or eaten sponge cake before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was very happy with the results – a light, airy cake.  Sponge cakes get all this airiness from beating the eggs and sugar until the eggs have quadrupled in volume.  The rest of the ingredients are then gently folded in.  For this cake, the recipe called for sifting the dry ingredients three times, which incorporated even more air into the cake.

With such a delicate cake, the whipped cream filling was perfect.  Nothing more than heavy cream, powdered sugar and strawberries, it provided the perfect complement to this cake.  I decided to add sliced strawberries in between the top two layers, just to give a little bit of extra strawberry flavor and texture.  The cake tastes fabulous, with all the components working together harmoniously.

Chocolate Sponge Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling
For the sponge cake:
75 grams sugar
3 eggs
75 grams, minus 3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
200 milliliters (about 6 3/4 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (increase if strawberries are very tart)
100 grams strawberries, chopped
For the ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

-Preheat the oven to 350º.  (The original recipe called for 180 Celsius, so I baked mine on the equivalent, which is 356º.)
-Butter and flour (or line with parchment) two 6 inch pans.
-Sift the dry ingredients three times and set aside.
-In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until quadrupled in size and thick ribbons fall from the beater, about 10 minutes.
-Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
-Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time, using figure eight movements so the air does not escape.
-Pour batter into prepared pans and bake about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
-Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a cooling rack.
-To make the filling, add heavy cream and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Gradually increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
-Fold in the chopped strawberries.
-To make the ganache, place chocolate in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
-Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until simmering.  Immediately pour over chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk by hand until all the chocolate is melted.

Source:  Adapted from Passionate About Baking

Strawberry Lime Sorbet

I’ve had so much fun posting strawberry recipes this week, and I’m sad I only have one more left to go.  I know I’ve already posted a recipe for ice cream, but I couldn’t do a string of posts about strawberries and not include this sorbet.

Basically, this sorbet is a strawberry daiquiri in a bowl.  It’s so refreshing, and I am already imagining enjoying it in the backyard this weekend when the temperature hits 90º.  The original recipe called for lemons, but I decided to change it up a bit and use limes.  Eric described it as tasting just like a strawberry limeade.  I could taste the limes, but they didn’t overpower the strawberries.  Rather, I thought the two worked together very well – a little tart, a little sweet.  The thing I thought was really unique about this recipe is that it calls for using the whole lime, peel and all.  I think that’s what really made the lime flavor shine through.

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow to see what I made with the last of my strawberries!

Strawberry Lime Sorbet

Strawberry Lime Sorbet
1 lime, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
juice of 2-3 limes

-Place the lime and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
-Pulse the strawberries in the food processor and then add to the lime mixture.  Add the juice of two limes.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed.  You should be able to taste the limes, but you don’t want them to overpower the strawberries.
-Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Source:  Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Smitten Kitchen, originally from the London River Cafe Cook Book

Strawberries and Cream Pie

Welcome to Day 3 of my celebration of strawberries!

I haven’t made many pies since I started baking.  I’ve made a few here and there for different holidays, but that’s about it.  Unfortunately, this is quite apparent in my subpar pie crust shaping skills.  Not to worry, though, because I plan on practicing those skills by making this pie again soon.  I usually don’t repeat recipes so quickly, but this pie was just that good.

This pie only calls for a few simple ingredients and is a cinch to make, especially if you make the crust the day before.  The filling – a combination of cream cheese, sugar and heavy cream – is light and fluffy.  The almond extract gives the filling a great, unexpected flavor.  The slight tartness of the strawberries pairs perfectly with the creamy filling, and a drizzle of chocolate finishes it off.  I went a little crazy with my chocolate, but if there’s one thing better than strawberries and cream, it’s strawberries and cream covered in chocolate.

Three recipes in, and I still have quite a few strawberries.  Make sure to come back tomorrow and Friday to see what I’ll make with the rest of them!

Strawberries and Cream Pie
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 pie crust for a 1-crust pie, completely baked and cooled (I used this pâte brisée.)
2 pints fresh whole strawberries, hulled
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

-In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream on medium speed.
-When the cream is frothy, increase the speed to high and whip until the cream holds firm peaks.
-In a separate large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it’s soft and creamy.
-Add the sugar and extract and continue beating until combined.
-Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese to lighten the mixture, then add the remaining cream and continue folding until incorporated.
-Evenly spread the cream mixture in the pie crust.  Arrange the strawberries, pointed side up, over the filling.
-Melt the chocolate with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream over very low heat, stirring constantly, or in the microwave on medium power, or in a double boiler.
-Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries.  Refrigerate the pie until set, about 1 hour.

Serves 8-10

Source:  As seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Pillsbury’s Complete Cookbook

Strawberries Romanoff

The first time I ever had this dessert was several years ago at a work Christmas party.  I didn’t cook or bake as much then, so it never occurred to me to try and recreate it.  I completely forgot about it until Eric and I moved to Dallas a few years ago.  There, we discovered a chain restaurant that we actually enjoyed, which is a rarity for us.  La Madeleine became one of our favorite places to get breakfast, and I could never bring myself to order anything other than the Crêpe Romanoff, which was topped with strawberries and a wonderful brandy sour cream sauce.

It’s been over two years since we moved away from Dallas, so I can’t tell you how much this recipe tastes like La Madeleine’s.  What I can tell you is that it tastes fantastic and can be made quickly with ingredients you probably have at home.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine this would taste delicious made with Grand Marnier or Cointreau in place of the brandy.

Come back tomorrow for another strawberry treat!  We’ve got three more days of strawberries to go!

Strawberries Romanoff
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons brandy or vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced if large
freshly grated nutmeg

-Mix the sour cream, brown sugar and brandy together in a small bowl.
-In another bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it thickens slightly, then add sugar.  Continue whisking until cream is fluffy.
-Gently fold whipped cream into sour cream mixture.
-Place strawberries in serving dish of your choice, top with sauce and freshly grated nutmeg.

Serves 2

Source:  Adapted from RecipeZaar

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Strawberries are my favorite fruit.  Just last week, Eric bought me an entire flat of strawberries.  They were incredibly cheap, and he knew I would be excited to have so many.

I was saddened to learn that the reason those strawberries were so cheap was because many Florida strawberry farmers are having to destroy their crops due to prices being so low at the market.  Because of the freeze in Florida this year, different varieties of strawberries all became available at the same time.  This caused an influx in the supply of strawberries, which drove the cost down.  Many farmers are finding it cheaper to destroy strawberries than to ship them to the market.

Since I haver an abundance of strawberries, I will be featuring strawberry recipes every day through Friday. The first one is this phenomenal ice cream, which calls for roasting the strawberries until caramelized.  The strawberry flavor becomes very intense, and the balsamic vinegar mixed with the juices of the strawberries turns into a sweet, tasty syrup.  This ice cream was creamy, with a wonderful strawberry flavor.  Plus, I just love the beautiful pink color!  It tastes great on its own, or topped with roasted pistachios or chocolate chips.

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
2 cups strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks

-Toss the strawberries in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and let sit for 20 minutes.
-Preheat oven to 425º.
-Pour the mixture on a baking pan covered in foil folded up on the sides to capture the juices.
-Roast the strawberries until they start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.
-Place the strawberries and the juices into a container and chill in the refrigerator.
-Meanwhile, heat the cream, milk and sugar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat until it almost boils, about 5 minutes.
-Reduce the heat to low and whisk one tablespoon of the cream mixture into the eggs to temper them.
-Add the egg mixture to the sauce pan.
-Cook on low heat until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
-Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the custard to remove any to remove any pieces of cooked eggs that may have formed while cooking.
-Chill mixture in refrigerator until cold.
-Using the back of a fork, mash strawberries.  (This may not be necessary unless you have very large strawberries like I did.)
-Mix the cream and strawberry mixtures.
-Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream machine.

Serves 4

Source:  Closet Cooking